Lisbie spot-kicks win it for U's

KEVIN Lisbie converted two penalties and missed another as Colchester United recorded a comfortable 2-0 victory over Hartlepool in Aidy Boothroyd's first home match in charge.

Stuart Watson

KEVIN Lisbie converted two penalties and missed another as Colchester United recorded a comfortable 2-0 victory over Hartlepool in Aidy Boothroyd's first home match in charge.

Colchester, who looked the more attack minded throughout, were awarded their first spot kick five minutes before the break when Clive Platt was pushed in the back but Lisbie's effort clipped the top of the bar and went over.

The Ipswich loanee, playing in an unfamiliar wide right position, was a thorn in the Hartlepool defence all afternoon though and atoned for his miss right on half-time when debutant Kayode Odejayi was fouled in the box by Gary Liddle. Lisbie went the same way but this time tucked the ball into the net to give his side a deserved half-time lead.

Amazingly the U's won a third penalty just seconds after the break when John White's long throw was handled by Liddle. Lisbie this time converted into the bottom left corner.

Hartlepool had enjoyed too good chances in the first half but ceased to offer a threat after the second goal and Colchester were able to comfortably play out the victory.

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Steven Gillespie played 12 minutes at the end in his latest return from injury, while young defender Tom Bendar made his debut in the closing stages.

Boothroyd pitched his two new loan signings straight into the starting line-up, young Wolves defender Danny Batth replacing Matt Heath at centre-back and Barnsley striker Odejayi coming in for injured winger Ashley Vincent.

The only other change from last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Swindon saw David Fox come back into the side for Simon Hackney, who dropped to the bench.

In contrast, Hartlepool United boss Chris Turner was able to name an unchanged team from their recent 1-1 draw with Wycombe after left-back Peter Hartley came through a late fitness check.

Colchester's new-look team lined up in a conventional 4-4-2 formation, the two imposing strikers of Odejayi and Clive Platt up front with Kevin Lisbie playing as a makeshift right winger and Anthony Wordsworth moving out to the left.

After a cagey start to the match, Colchester created the first real chance of the match in the 12th minute. Odejayi chested down a long ball from the back before laying it off to Wordsworth and his wicked cross from the left just evaded Platt and Lisbie. Less than a minute later John-Joe O'Toole fired just wide from outside the box.

Hartlepool looked happy to defend for the opening stages of the match but almost broke the deadlock against the run of play. Following a counter attack, Leon McSweeney swung a corner in from the left and Ben Williams had to make a smart save at the far post from the unmarked Hartley's close range header.

Colchester responded well and created two good headed opportunities of their own. First Odejayi headed inches wide from John White's cross, while strike partner Platt could have done better following a good run and cross from Lisbie.

O'Toole then almost put the U's in front in spectacular fashion after 24 minutes with a fiercely struck 35-yard strike that visiting keeper Scott Flinders did well to push around his post.

The home side had a weak penalty appeal swiftly dismissed on the half hour mark. Wordsworth collected the ball well following good hold up play by Odejayi but although his cross hit the arm of Steve Haslam in the box there was not much he could have done to get out the way.

The strike partnership of Platt and Odejayi showed its threat in the 34th minute. Platt won the high ball and Odejayi who, as it happened was narrowly offside, fired powerfully into the side netting.

Hartlepool were clearly aiming to play on the counter attack and that ploy almost paid dividends when the U's offside trap failed 10 minutes before the break. James Brown found himself free in the box but Williams made a good save down low with his legs at his near post.

Lisbie wasted a glorious chance to give his side the lead in the 39th minute when he put a casual spot kick over the bar. The U's were gifted a penalty when captain Sam Collins inexplicably shoved Platt in the back, but Lisbie, leaning back, saw his effort clip the top of the bar as he went for the top right corner.

The Ipswich loanee was given the chance to atone just four minutes later though when the hosts were once again gifted a penalty. This time Gary Liddle wrestled Odejayi to the floor in the box and Lisbie immediately made a beeline for the ball. Again he went for the right side of the goal, his effort just evading the dive of Flinders to give Colchester a deserved half-time lead.

Amazingly Colchester won their third penalty of the match just seconds after the restart. Lisbie attacked straight from the kick-off, won a throw-in down the right and when White launched the ball into the box the ball struck Liddle's arm. Lisbie again took the spot kick and this time rolled it into the bottom left corner, despite the unfortunate Flinders again diving in the right direction.

With the two goal cushion Colchester were able to play some good football at stages in the second half. Following a patient spell of passing by the U's, O'Toole pulling the strings in the middle, Odejayi had a powerful effort saved at the near post as the game entered the last half hour.

Hartlepool's frustrations spilled over in the 69th minute when Andy Monkhouses' challenge on White sparked a mass brawl near the Colchester dugout. First the left winger was late on Lisbie and then his arm flailed out at White. A number of players from both sides came racing over to remonstrate and, after it had all died down, Monkhouse was booked, as was Tierney after he raced the width of the pitch to aggressively join the melee. A minute later and Monkhouse was substituted.

Colchester continued to look like the only side that would score and Wordsworth blazed over after a great run through the middle of the defence.

With the home side comfortably on top, Boothroyd took the opportunity to give Steven Gillespie a 12 minute run out following his latest return from a long string of injuries. He replaced Odejayi who was roundly applauded off following a fine debut.

The home side were denied a good shout for a fourth penalty with five minutes remaining when Collins lent heavily into the on-running Gillespie but the referee immediately dismissed the appeals.

With two minutes remaining Tom Bender came off the bench to become the U's second youngest ever debutant.

Colchester: Ben Williams, John White, Marc Tierney, Magnus Okuonghae, Danny Batth, David Fox, John-Joe O'Toole, Anthony Wordsworth (Thomas Bender 88), Clive Platt, Kevin Lisbie (Phil Ifil 89), Kayode Odejayi (Steven Gillespie 78). Unused Subs: Mark Cousins, Matt Heath, Scott Vernon, Simon Hackney.

Hartlepool: Scott Flinders, Gary Liddle, Sam Collins, Leon McSweeney, Ritchie Jones, Denis Behan (Ritchie Humpreys 70), Andy Monkhouse (Adam Boyd 70), James Brown, Antony Sweeney (Armann Bjornsson 60), Steve Haslam, Peter Hartley. Unused Subs: Neil Austin, Jon-Andre Fredriksen, Mark Cook, Colin Larkin.

Referee: Mr K Woolmer.

Attendance: 4,259.

Man-of-the-Match: Kevin Lisbie.